Archive - April 2016

  1. Column: Cost of Attending MLB Game Goes UpApril 28, 2016

    Like the federal debt, the cost of attending a Major League Baseball (MLB) game is rising. This season the average increase over last year is 3.7%. That may not seem like a huge increase but in the twelve months preceding the opening of the 2016 season, the inflation rate was a mere 0.9%. Ticket prices alone increased 7.1% last year, almost eight times greater than last year’s inflation rate. According to Team Marketing Report’s (TMR) annual survey of MLB teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks provide the lowest overall fan cost of any of the 30 teams. That’s not news. This is the tenth consecutive year that Arizona has claimed the title. It all starts with ticket prices and the Diamondbacks have the lowest average season ticket price in the league at $18.53 per ticket. The Major League average is $31.

  2. Column: Canadian Hockey Lags U.S.April 21, 2016

    For the first time since 1970, the National Hockey League playoffs began without a single Canadian team in the chase for Lord Stanley’s Cup. The last of seven NHL teams north of the border was eliminated with 11 days left in the season. Like their neighbors to the south, Canadians disagree on religion. Canada’s number one religion is Catholicism with 39% of the population identifying themselves as Roman Catholics. The next largest group is non-believers, at almost a quarter of the population according to the National Household Survey conducted in 2013. But one thing all Canadians can agree on is hockey. It’s the country’s national sport and in some circles, even more important than religion.

  3. Column: NCAA Sleaze Dominates Final FourApril 14, 2016

    When the Villanova Wildcats beat the University of North Carolina Tar Heels on a last second basket to win the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, it prevented one of this year’s two Final Four teams with dirty laundry from taking home the National Championship trophy. UNC had beaten Syracuse, the other recent NCAA miscreant, two nights earlier to advance to the final game. Syracuse, like the University of Connecticut three years earlier, advanced to the Final Four after sitting out the tournament the previous year. The Huskies were banned in 2013 for falling below the Academic Progress Rate threshold, a complicated and totally meaningless formula contrived by the NCAA to pretend that student athletes were obtaining an education while they were actually in college to play sports. One year later, the UConn men’s basketball team celebrated the school’s fourth national championship.

  4. Column: Banned at The Ballpark: Smokeless TobaccoApril 7, 2016

    Major League Baseball (MLB) kicked off the 2016 season on April 3 with the familiar sights and sounds of players in uniform, bats hitting balls, pitches plunking into catchers’ mitts, and fans cheering for their home team. But one thing is missing in seven of the 30 MLB ball parks: Smokeless tobacco. Baseball players have used smokeless tobacco for more than a century, since the days of Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth. Although the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that smokeless tobacco use among baseball players has declined over the years, according to Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an estimated 25-30% of MLB players currently use smokeless tobacco. That number is surprising, considering that all tobacco products are banned at the high school, college and Minor League Baseball (MiLB) levels.